Interpreters being trained to decipher signs of TIP

– maintain your moral compass; understand the importance of the task at hand – Min. Scott

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Opening a two-day training course on recognising trafficked victims, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott, noted the significance of today – Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow Day – and the impact of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) on human and workers’ rights. The day was designated by the National Assembly in 2005.

The minister cited the need for stakeholders to be equipped to detect all signs of human trafficking.

“My ministry has been tasked… and we are fully committed to ensuring that no-one is taken advantage of in any part of this country… The escape hatch that some used to escape punishment by citing their lack of understanding English must now be closed.”

The minister reminded that the advancement of Guyana’s ranking, from Tier 3 to Tier 1, was significant and indicative of the government’s seriousness in addressing human trafficking. He noted that the task ahead requires the input of several agencies and training will ensure all stakeholders understand each other’s roles and the need to work together. Minister Scott also urged all to remain “above board” and maintain their “moral compass” by resisting corruption.

The training, which attracted more than 20 participants including embassy and high commission staffers, builds on several similar exercises conducted with various stakeholders since Guyana ratified the UN convention in 2014. According to the Public Security Ministry’s TIP Task Force Coordinator, Oliver Profitt, almost half of the alleged victims are overseas based, hence the need for the training.

“Sometimes we would enlist the services of the Language Institute but, looking forward to the future, we know that no one can tell what is going to happen. We do need to have a corps of trained persons to help us. We will also help the persons from your countries to get that needed assistance.”

The ministry official explained that “it aims to equip interpreters with knowledge of the nature of the crime in trafficking in persons, the functions of the local task force and member agencies including NGO’s and the legal climate surrounding trafficking in persons in Guyana”. The exercise, he further added, will build a working relationship with bilingual interpreters as it targets foreign embassies and missions, police ranks and individual interpreters.

The problem of human trafficking or modern slavery, aggregates in the millions internationally affecting all races and genders, was stated by the International Organisation for Migration’s Chief of Mission and Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello. He noted that with nearly 90,000 cases reported over the past ten years, TIP can only be tackled effectively with the help of all stakeholders.

Police Commissioner Leslie James described TIP as one the scourges of the earth. He noted that slavery of humans in the 21st century is a serious matter, urging participants to take on board the training being offered.

Force Training Officer and Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken said the training is part of the force’s effort to build the capacity of stakeholders and ranks as part of its reformation efforts.

Report any suspicious situation to the TIP Hotline at 227- 4083/623-5030 or send email to counter_traffickinginpersons@yahoo.com including as many details as possible – Calls to the TIP Hotline are confidential!

Paul Mc Adam

Images: Kareem Peters

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